Great Lakes States bring Action against Federal Government over Fish.

August 2, 2010

The States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan recently filed suit in the Northern District of Illinois against the United States Corp of Army Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago seeking to have the facilities designed to prevent the migration of bighead or silver (Asian) carp declared a public nuisance, to the extent that those facilities have not prevented the migration of the Asian carp into Lake Michigan, and requesting a

“permanent injunction requiring the District and the Corps to take all appropriate and necessary measures to expeditiously develop and implement plans to permanently and physically separate carp-infested waters in the Illinois River basin and the CAWS from Lake Michigan so as to prevent the migration of bighead carp, silver carp, or other harmful aquatic invasive species into Lake Michigan.”

The “asian carp” are voracious eaters which can grow up 100 pounds and up to four feet in length, consuming 40% of its body weight daily.  It spawns three times a year and has no known predators.  The concern is that if the carp become established in the Great Lakes, they would starve out other fish, and ruin the region’s $7 billion fishing industry.

The carp are currently being restrained from entering Lake Michigan by the use of electronic barriers.  Michigan had previously sought orders compelling the closing of Chicago shipping locks and gates which could provide an entrance into Lake Michigan for the fish, which were appealed to and denied by the United States Supreme Court.

However, a live Asian carp was found within a few miles of Lake Michigan last month, which state officials believe illustrates the urgency of the situation and increases the likelihood of successfully obtaining injunctive relief.

The complaint in this matter can be found at 2010 WL 2893302.

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